What started out as a journal exercise of a few hours turned into a 3 week project exploring color and texture, and thinking about reflections from surfaces and thoughts. View the series for “100 Thoughts” on Flickr.
The reflections off water, glass, marble, and other transparent, translucent or glossy surfaces have always intrigued me. The image that is reflected is often distorted, ambiguous, hazy, blurry, and edited by the shape of the surface. Sometimes, much like our thoughts. Situations and encounters can occasionally leave our thoughts bouncing around like light off a surface: uncertain, out of focus, out of context, or clear but truncated.
“100 Thoughts” is a set of small images that correspond to thoughts that were generated by the act of mark making with encaustic paint on paper. Although some of the images began with an idea, most were “named” after the image was completed. When the actions of the mark making were done, the thought regarding the image crystallized. Titles were kept short to correspond with the small image size, and a specific idea.
All pieces in the set are encaustic with oil bar on Fabriano Artistico paper. The paper is 5 1/2 ” x 6″ (14 cm x 15 cm), images are about 4″ x 4″ (10 cm x 10 cm). Edges were taped, creating a restricted painting/reflection area. Not unlike a print edition, the edges and backs of the paper were kept as clean as possible. Images that were inconsistent with the established theme were removed from the set. Out of an original 116, only 100 were selected for the completed set. The others were added to the original journal entry.
Some titles from the “100 Thoughts” series:
Blueberry Kiss II
Creamsicle Sky I
Inner Glow II
Jumble Ice I
Last Remark I
Night Mood II
Odd Moment II
Rhubarb Vortex I
Stormy Light II
[ No music in the studio today. Only the snoring of 2 cats and a dog, and the soft sounds of heat on metal – the encaustic paints being warmed on the metal palette.]
2. Choose similar color chips (I stockpile paint chips from various paint stores.) to use in your work area as reference, pick corresponding encaustic base colors that you already have, mix new colors if you need to.
3. Start working …
Although the final image is different than my original idea, doing the color analysis up front helped me avoid problem colors. Take a look at Kuler and enjoy digital color mixing.
Sometimes it is hard to either think clearly about a new color scheme, how to complete or extend an existing one, or troubleshoot a problem color. A tool that I love is Adobe’s Kuler. It is a free online color-chip style generator, and there are thousands of color groupings, called themes, that have been made by others that you can search by keyword. There is a short AdobeTV overview video.
I made too much of a semi-translucent green that reminded me of Lava Soap. Kind of a medium-minty color. Well, a little is fine, but I have way too much. So, turning to Kuler, I searched for “mint” as the tag and found many color options to work with my new treasure. Out of 650 results returned, some of my favorite combinations were: “watermelon mint,” “coral mint,” and “a passing feeling.” “Watermelon mint” is shown here.
You can create color groupings called themes based on analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, and custom. It is possible to make themes from pictures found online or uploaded from your computer, or variations on existing themes made by others. Save your favorites, and import colors into some current software tools.
In a short time, I came up with three combinations that could help me work with my Lava Soap encaustic color supply: “Iris I Detail II,” “Theme 3,” and “Theme 4.” Combinations are limited only by your imagination and time. (Possibly snacks and a beverage.)
“Encaustic paint has luminous translucency, a succulent surface, and warms to the touch, like human skin. It offers a wide range of applications, such as using the pure encaustic with no color, adding pigments for rich color, creating texture, casting in molds, collaging with photographs, and making sculptures by combining it with wood, steel, and other materials. I believe this is why we love the wax; it gives us endless possibilities for expression.
Selecting well conceived, beautifully executed, and visually satisfying art works was my vision for this show. I was looking for artists who give us a glimpse into their emotions and lives. Though the focus of this show is the material, what is vital to art is the expression of the artists, and it is their visual language that shines through.
Eileen P. Goldenberg, juror”
18″ x 18″ Encaustic with Oil Bar and Metal Leaf .
Canvas on Braced Board. 2009
Detail from bottom left corner.
May 6: Exhibition Opening Reception, 5:00—7:00 p.m. June 18: Culture + Cocktails Reception, 6:00—8:00 p.m. June 21: Exhibition closes